Games glory for Central West athletes

YOU only get out what you put in.

Orange’s Luke Rout said the hard yards he did in training led him to a dual gold medal performance for Australia at the Special Olympics Asia Pacific Games last week.

Rout competed in multiple athletics events, winning gold in both shot put and the 200 metre sprint.

“I’ve been working hard for a long time,” he said.

“Mum had been pushing me really hard, for two hours at a time on the field for pretty much the whole year.”

Rout said he had entertained the prospect of winning a single gold medal, but never dreamed he could top the podium more than once.

“I did imagine I could win one,” he explained.

“But two, no way, I surprised myself. When they presented them to me I felt like jumping for joy, but I didn’t want to embarrass myself.”

Three central west basketballers also represented Australia at the games, with Orange’s Dean Pallier and Siena Boland, and Bathurst’s Keelan Crawford all bringing home silver.

Pallier and Crawford took on fellow countrymen in the men’s competition, playing against South Australian and Victorian teams, and Japan.

The Australian lost the final to South Australia but Pallier said his team had beaten the odds to even make the gold medal game.

“We had a few injuries throughout the tournament,” he said.

“One of the boys had a broken thumb, and I aggravated my hamstring. By the time we got to the final we didn’t really have the man power to compete.”

Pallier said despite the disappointment of losing the final a silver medal wasn’t a bad consolation prize.

“We got a South Australian team that had been training together for months in the final, but we still got silver, so we can’t complain,” he said.

Boland’s female team also got beaten in the final, going down to a powerful Victorian unit.

The excitement, and pride the quartet felt was palpable, and Pallier said he expects the Asia Pacific Games to get bigger and better in the future.

“I think it was a massive hit,” he said.

“Seeing the smiles on the younger kids faces is just fantastic, and representing our country is great honour.

“A lot of people would love it to come back, it’s a great time off the court with plenty of laughs.”

matthew.findlay@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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